Grabbing the home advantage with both hands
Guess which Briton was the home driver to be the highest placed on Rally GB (or the RAC Rally) more times than any other? Fair enough, that was an easy one. You knew it would be Colin Mcrae.
What about one of the two drivers who have finished top Brit on the second highest number of occasions? That’s much tougher. Here’s a clue: it’s not Richard Burns. Or Roger Clark. They were four years each, by the way.
Try Russell Brookes and Matthew Wilson. Six years, that’s how many times they celebrated being highest placed home driver. Brookes’ record through the late Seventies is particularly impressive, with podiums in 1977, ’78 and ’79. As for Matthew, he outscored his father Malcolm by six to two in terms of making Britain proud when the world championship came to town – although MW Sr retains some bragging rights – he did manage a podium in 1993.
Of the recent heroes, Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans have managed two years each. Four drivers have the honour of being top Brit once since 1973: Terry Kaby, Louise Aitken-walker, Alastair Ginley and Mark Lovell.
By his own admission, Lovell’s 1988 RAC result wasn’t one to be particularly proud of. He was the first home driver to make the finish in 17th place overall – the lowest position ever for the top Brit. In his defence, 1988 was a horrendously snowy event and he was driving a Group A Ford Sierra RS Cosworth on completely unsuitable tyres.